Baku, Azerbaijan, May 26
By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:
In the present circumstances, when gas on the world markets is gaining value, and a real gas race unfolded on the European market, there emerge more opinions trying to cause "a clash" between the Southern Gas Corridor project initiated by Azerbaijan and the Turkish Stream initiated by Gazprom.
One doesn't need to talk about a competition between the two projects in the present situation, which is confirmed by numerous statements by officials in this regard.
Today, a similar statement was also made by Deputy Vice President of SOCAR (State Oil Company of Azerbaijan) for investment and marketing Vitaly Baylarbayov, who said that nothing could stop the Southern Gas Corridor project.
What is the power of the Southern Gas Corridor, which distinguishes it from many previous similar projects, which bit the dust?
Firstly, significant funds have been already invested in the implementation of the project worth $45 billion. Main work on the Caspian Sea (within the second stage of the Shah Deniz field development), the onshore of Azerbaijan and Georgia (the expansion of the South Caucasus gas pipeline) and Turkey (TANAP construction) has started and is being successfully implemented, and Italy has already made a final decision on the start of TAP gas pipeline construction in May 2016.
Alongside with the investment decisions, a number of contracts have been signed which obligate some sides to supply gas and the others to buy it. However, both sides will forfeit it if they do not fulfill any paragraph of these agreements.
At the same time, the Southern Gas Corridor gives opportunity not only to Azerbaijan, but also a number of gas-rich countries to sell gas to the EU. Turkmenistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria and even Israel and Cyprus are named among these countries.
The plan to expand the pumping capacity of the gas pipeline gives opportunity to the countries to connect their gas to the ready infrastructure and further deliver it to the European markets, which significantly increases the interest of these countries in this project.
This project meets the interests of the EU, which pursues the policy of diversification of gas sources, reducing dependence on Russian supplies, and strengthening energy security, as well as the countries which are the prospective sellers of gas to Europe who will securely get the needed contracted gas reserve. Such mutual interest allows implementing the project at a high level.
All the abovementioned factors create a solid basis for the successful implementation of the project and its operation in the future.
Edited by CN
Maksim Tsurkov is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @MaksimTsurkov